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Showing posts from May, 2010

We are going to the tree

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We are going to the tree.

This is what the people in this community say when someone is nearing death. There is a large tree near the entrance to the cemetery -- a tree which has watched caskets and grieving families pass by, journey after journey.

A young man age 18 had been shot in his own home. His pastor said he was not in a gang, that he was a good boy. How could something like this happen to a good boy?

The invitation to attend the boy's funeral came as an interruption. In the midst of a gathering of international guests, the bishop needed to leave in order to conduct the funeral for the family who needed him, and as he excused himself he asked if anyone would like to go with him, to witness and to learn. I looked at the friend who sat next to me. "We need to go to accompany the family." Like a skipped heartbeat we felt it -- we needed to go. The two of us stood up, whispered some instructions to the rest of our group, and left with the bishop and a pastor f…

Good Morning Fish!

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An early morning on the beach means being welcomed to the new day by the sound of rolling waves, the flutter and call of sea birds, the scent of fish, the chill of the damp morning air, and the friendly greetings of wandering dogs.


As soon as the approaching sun sends out enough light, the fishermen pull their boats to the edge of the water, load up their gear, and head out toward the breakers. The boats need to get up enough speed to blast themselves up and over the crashing waves so that they can get out to deeper water. The small motors are really put to the test, and the pilots make many failed attempts before finally breaking free.

We asked our friend if he had ever gone fishing out in a boat like the ones we were watching. He said that he had gone out one time, riding in the bow of the boat while the fisherman was driving. Getting through the breakers was very scary and he said he almost flew into the water. That was the first and last time that he went fishing out in a boat!

Tales of Greasy and Grubby in Cara Sucia

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If you are in Cara Sucia, then you are close to the beach and the opportunity for a beach adventure is always at hand!

Greasy and Grubby were staying with a family in Cara Sucia and were offered just such an adventure - a night at the beach. Our teen-age guide (who is a long-time friend and has actually stayed in both of our homes) suggested that he organize this adventure and his mom thought it was a good idea. Mom took us into town in a moto-taxi (the little red jobs made in Japan) to pick up some sandwich supplies and drinks - soft white bread (think Wonder), processed turkey and cheese, and little juice jugs with foil caps - this is sort of typical beach picnic food.

We packed up our swim suits, towels and beach food and walked up to the main road. There we waited a while, then squeezed into a colorful public bus which took us to the beach road. I sat next to a mom with an adorable little one. I asked if it would be OK if I took a quick photo, and the mom said she would be hono…

Off the Beaten Path - Cara Sucia

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If you strike out on the highway and head west out of San Salvador, you will eventually end up in Guatemala. It's a nice drive in an old pick-up, maybe a little slow in brightly painted bus with 85 friendly travelers. Depending on the season you might find corn kernels spread out along side of the road to dry, or bright white sugar cane tassels waving in the breeze, or even a few cows in the road.

Before you hit the border you get to Cara Sucia. I have to confess that I don't know too much about the town itself. A local friend told me that the name Cara Sucia (Dirty Face) originated with the Spanish, who noticed that the children who played near the river had dirty faces, so the name stuck. Whether that story is true or not, the nearby Cara Sucia and Paz rivers are sources of both life and challenge to the farmers who live and work near their banks. My friend said that he learned to swim in the river when he was a little boy . . . The water rose up and all of a sudden it ca…

Just Click!

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Some of my favorite El Salvador photos happen when I just stick my camera out the window of the bus, car or pick-up and CLICK! I often end up using these photos with kids because they capture the every-day life, work and transportation experiences of Salvadoran families. These photos were all taken during a recent drive around San Salvador.


The images include kids giving a little weight to a fancy table, a load of piƱatas, and guys riding on top of beehives.